Empathy Mapping: 4 Key Insights into What Probate Families Are Feeling and Thinking

Jennifer BaileyArticles, Real Estate NewsLeave a Comment

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When you’re going through a tough time, it’s nice to know that someone understands what you’re going through. That’s the idea behind empathy mapping: trying to understand what people are feeling and thinking in order to better serve them.

I was fortunate enough to hold an empathy mapping workshop with probate real estate professionals from multiple states who gave me some core insights into what the administrator is feeling, seeing, doing, and thinking during their decision-making journey. 

In the context of the executor/administrator, we took a deep dive into the emotional journey of a baby boomer and discovered some core insights into what they want and need. Every family’s story is different, but by understanding what they are feeling and thinking, we can get a better idea of how to market and serve them during this difficult time.

What is Empathy Mapping?

Empathy mapping is an activity used by marketers to understand the needs of their users. The process involves creating a fictional character that represents our target user and then mapping out their emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Why Use Empathy Mapping?

The goal of empathy mapping is to help you put yourself in your user’s shoes so that we can better understand their needs. By understanding what they are thinking and feeling, you can create a more effective marketing strategy that resonates with them on a personal level.

During our workshop, we identified some core insights into the emotional journey of an executor, that will help guide your marketing decisions as a real estate professional:

In general, people being put in the position of an executor are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, but also want to be seen as competent and need a sense of control. And although each situation is unique, they have some core similarities. Let’s look at them now…

1. They want recognition for handling the process

The amount of time and energy being put into the process is significant and meaningful, and the executor wants their family to see and understand what they are going through. They don’t want their work to go unnoticed.

2. They are feeling some possible resentment for being put in this position

Nobody wants to be forced into a situation where they are “inheriting” a burdensome task. They may be thinking, “If my brother had just been more organized and created a will, this would be easier…” or … “I wish I had spoken with dad about the house before it was too late…”

They are probably feeling some resentment towards the individual who put them there, or even some hard feelings towards themselves or their siblings/other family members for not stepping up.

3. They trust the attorney more than anyone

Like going to the doctor and being given an official diagnosis, executors are going to trust the word and direction of the attorney more than anyone else. This puts real estate professionals in a unique position to gain the trust of the attorney as well.

4. They need to feel like they are in control, even if they are not

To calm the feelings of overwhelm and confusion, the executor needs to be given some tools to know that they are doing everything that they can to make the process go smoothly. They are also probably being called on by other family members to give them information and speed the process up, even though they cant. They need reassurance and direction that they are doing the right things.

How can real estate professionals respond?

There are a variety of things that you as a real estate professional can do to calm feelings of resentment, give the satisfaction of recognition and control, all while building trust. Here are some simple ideas to get you brainstorming on your own…

  • Offer a guided checklist that is easy to follow (like the one in Purpose-Driven Probate, here)
  • Offer a simple certification system (totally serious here). For example, create a one-hour educational video on everything that they need to do/what to expect, and when they watch it you can award them with a certificate that they can then share with family members.
  • Give them email scripts that they can use for family members to “keep them at bay”… for example, “what to expect from the process” and answers to questions like “why is this taking so long?”…

What other ideas can you come up with to help serve your probate families while helping them to feel secure in the process of working with you?

Share them here 👇

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